I was reading in a poem recently and the writer used the line “Hells freezing north no tempest can send out” and I found myself wondering about hell… the images of hell tend to lean toward the burning…but here was a poet using hell and freezing together…and I don’t mean the comedians using hell freezing over as an impossible ETA. We having burning fire – we have burning frost, and as far as the bible (KJV) is concerned we have about 54 references to hell. So, what is hell? I won’t presume to know – but from what I gather in scripture it is definitely not a place I want to end up. Hell and fire are used several times together in scripture. Hell is often referred to as deep, and in depths. Jesus used a dump outside of Jerusalem, which had continuous fire and worms as a handy descriptor for hell. In luke 16:24 the rich man (in hell) actually sought a dialogue with the beggar (who was in heaven) – and was wanting a drop of water to cool his tongue, and he does mention specifically being in torment in the flames. When we look at the etymology for hell it comes from the Hebrew ???? – sh?’owl.. the word means basically hollow, a hollow and subterranean place. Words like void and empty might help as well. The word is derived from ‘asking’ – asking for, or demanding all ad infinitum. Maybe a person could say hell is demanding everything and receiving nothing in return, forever. Sounds hellish to me. One more note is how rarely we hear hell being spoken of as a serious consequence in church (or anywhere for that matter). Clearly Jesus took this subject seriously – and spoke of it on several different occassions, as a warning.